Israel and Hamas committed war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law during Israel’s assault on Gaza in November 2012, Amnesty International said Thursday.
In the London-based rights group’s annual report, released Thursday, Amnesty said the Israeli air force carried out bomb and missile strikes on residential areas, including strikes that were “disproportionate and caused heavy civilian casualties.”
It said that in most cases, Israel did not present evidence that these specific sites had been used for military purposes, while the Israeli navy launched “indiscriminate attacks” on populated coastal sites.
The group also said the military wing of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups fired rockets and other weapons into Israel, killing civilians and damaging civilian property.
It also said armed groups were responsible for the deaths of at least two Palestinians after rockets fell short of their targets in Israel.
The report accused Hamas as well as the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority of abuses including arbitrary arrests of political opponents and torture in Palestinian prisons.
A Hamas spokesman dismissed the report as unfair.
In a statement, Fawzi Barhoum said the report was “unfair and lacked objectivity as it equaled between legitimate resistance which defended Palestinian civilians and the Israeli occupier who deliberately targeted and murdered Palestinian civilians.”
Amnesty International forgot that it was Israel who started that war, Barhoum added.
The way the report described the situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, according to Barhoum, and the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody only scratched the surface of the reality, he added.
Barhoum highlighted that the Palestinian people and prisoners have been suffering endlessly in light of the siege on Gaza, the ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank and settler assaults on the Palestinians.
Barhoum also dismissed Amnesty’s allegations about torturing opposition supporters. These claims, he said, have no credibility, nor were they based on real information. The organization has not met with Gaza officials to verify its information, he charged.
The report, according to Barhoum, contradicted reports prepared by local and international human rights groups which visited the Gaza Strip and met with officials and civilians.
An Israeli army spokesman had no immediate comment on the report.
(Ma’an – maannews.com)